Scientologists and Mormons in the news

On the one hand, Scientologist Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split up. On the other, Mormon Mitt Romney heads for the Republican nomination for President. Money shows up in both stories (and as it does in all organized religions), but there are vast differences.

The Mormons have taken their beehive symbol to heart, work hard, and have a centralized bureaucratic government. They tax their people 10%. Mr Romney is in the news for hiding a lot of his fortune in tax-avoidance jurisdictions overseas (Bermuda, the Caymans, etc). Hm. I wonder if he pays his religious tax the way his church wants…?

The other ones, the Scientologists, were established by Science Fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard a couple of years after he famously said that there was no money in writing SF – the way to make money was to start your own religion. Scientologists suck their adherents dry of their entire wealth, and do it on the basis of the most preposterous “bad SF” cosmology that you can imagine, involving an evil overlord from the Andromeda Galaxy imprisoning his people in volcanoes on Earth and blowing them up with Hydrogen Bombs.

(Somewhat in connection with this, Microsoft researcher Cormac Herley has just published a paper showing that Nigerian email scammers make deliberately ludicrous propositions to their targets, as a way of quickly identifying the most stupid and gullible people.)

But the real reason that Katie Holmes is leaving Tom Cruise may have less to do with money than with the upbringing of their 6-year-old daughter Suri. Suri is now reaching the age when she starts getting “security-checked” by the Scientologists. This is their method of simultaneous indoctrination of the child and spying on her family. It is so unsavory that even that unscrupulous media mogul Rupert Murdoch is outspoken about it.

Rupert Murdoch tweets about Scientology

 

You can read some of his tweets here. And not only about Scientology. He was also asked about Mormons, and gave an answer that – from the ones I’ve met – I have to agree with:  “Mormonism a mystery to me, but Mormons certainly not evil.”

As for how much sense there is either of these religions compared with longer-established ones… or compared with a modern scientific view of the universe… well, that can be either a very long discussion, or a very short one. But many people find it endlessly fascinating.

Advertisements

Scientology’s wacky SciFi “creation myth”

L. Ron Hubbard roughed out the story that became Scientology’s equivalent of the Garden of Eden narrative: how evil came to the Earth, and what we have to do to become pure. Read about it here.

Hubbard's notes for the oddball story that now underpins Scientology

Xenu, the Head of the Galactic Confederation, solved a massive overpopulation problem on his 75 planets some 95 million years ago by bringing people to Earth, putting them in volcanoes, and detonating H Bombs in the volcanoes. (How very 1950s!) This has emotionally scarred us (even if don’t remember it) throughout all our subsequent reincarnations, and only by remembering the details (including time and place) of traumatic events (including in past lives) can we cleanse ourselves of the trauma and return to being spiritual creatures who can control the physical world around us…

Other traumatic experiences, according to this page on The Beliefs and Teachings of Scientology, include “attempted abortions and other fetal traumas, acts of torture and violence experienced both as victim and as perpetrator, encounters with the Marcab Confederacy and various Invader Forces from spacefaring Galactic civilizations, life on earth as a clam,” etc.

Your past goes back billions of years. The cost of having Scientology help you clean it up, all the way back to the clams, may well be $500,000 or so.

Good luck.

Scientology clergy member attacks church leader’s ‘obsession’ with money. Ha!

"Make money. Make more money."

An email on New Year’s Day to 12,000 Scientologists headlined “Keep Scientology Working” according to the British newspaper The Independent, “argues that many of the policies pursued (by) Mr Miscavige are in direct conflict to the principles laid down by (founder and science fiction writer L.Ron) Hubbard when he created the movement in the 1960s and 1970s. In particular (the writer, Debbie Cook) claims that ‘extreme’ fundraising activities are now being ‘driven from within the very highest echelons of the Scientology structure’, in a way that is at odds with the organisation’s founding scriptures. Although many current members have donated vast portions of their net worth to the church, Ms Cook claims that Hubbard never endorsed individual donations of over $75 for lifetime membership.” (See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/conflict-at-the-heart-of-scientology-is-exposed-in-bitter-email-outburst-6284546.html

This claim about L. Ron Hubbard’s gentle intentions is contradicted by the exhortation by Hubbard in a bulletin to his church officials: “Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why, just do it.”  (Quoted in http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html)

It all comes back to Hubbard’s often-quoted pre-Scientology statement: “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” (For a full discussion, see this start-a-religion-faq)

But then, perhaps L. Ron Hubbard’s science fiction simply isn’t all that good…